Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Veal" and Ricotta Manicotti

I don't usually like to heavily on any one book, but Bryanna Clark Grogan's books are so good that I would suggest you buy it anyway. *I made the "veal"/"turkey" seitan with the baking method from Nonna's Italian Kitchen. Even as an omnivore, once I knew what veal was, I wouldn't eat it, so it's weird for me to type out. That's why I have to use the quotes, you see. Anyway, the seitan is delicious. I guess you could use a different flavored seitan, but it won't be quite the same. I think a "chicken" or "beef" version would still be very good, though!

You can make this recipe in 2 parts if you like. Make the "veal" filling, the ricotta, and cook the noodles the day before. You can even fill the noodles, cover with sauce, and refrigerate overnight.

Variation- If you'd like to have an all-meat style manicotti, omit the ricotta. I would definitely use the bechamel sauce if you do this. You may also want to try "veal" and spinach.

"Veal" and Ricotta Manicotti (Makes 12-14 Stuffed Pasta Noodles)
1 Package Manicotti Noodles (12-14 noodles), cooked and drained- save plastic cartons
1 recipe of your favorite tofu ricotta (using 1 pkg. tofu, about 1 1/2 c.)
1/2 Recipe "Veal"* seitan, as mentioned above
Favorite Spaghetti/Tomato Sauce (I use what's jarred and on sale)
Favorite Bechamel sauce (optional. You can use all spaghetti sauce.)
shredded vegan cheese (optional)

"Veal" Filling
4 c (or so) small-chopped "veal" seitan (mentioned above, uses the whole amount cooked)
1 average onion, minced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp margarine
2 Tbsp flour
1 c soy/non-dairy milk
2 large pinches salt
2 large pinches sugar
few fresh grinds pepper

Heat 2-4 Tbsp margarine in a large saute pan on MED and sweat onions and garlic. Do not brown, just soften.

Add seitan and cook on MED-HI for about 7 minutes, until heated through and some parts browned. (Not too crispy. Do this in 2 batches 7 min each, please.)

Remove and put in food processor and pulse until pretty well broken down, about the consistency of chunky wet cat food (sorry!!)

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. margarine and add flour. Stir around the pan for about a minute or two. Add the soymilk and stir really well. This makes a thick sauce and also gets all the good bits off the bottom. Add the seitan back to the pan and mix really well with the thick sauce. Stir really well. Remove and fill noodles or refrigerate for later.

Fill The Noodles
To fill the noodles, I would really suggest using a pastry bag. To make your own pasty bag, cut the end off of a ziploc bag. Ta-da! This is also easier if you employ the use of the plastic cartons your uncooked pasta came in. Just set them back in their little trays and they'll stay still.

-Use up all the "veal" filling evenly amongst the noodles. Just kind of make sure it's evenly distributed along the bottom of each noodle. There's plenty of filling.
-Do the same with the ricotta, except try to get it on top of the meat filling and not mix it. For the ricotta, it's easiest if you just pump a little in from both sides, instead of trying to fit the piping bag into the noodle and squirting too much out the other end. Be frugal with the ricotta at first then go back and add more (I didn't do this and had 2 ricotta-less manicotti!).

Cover with bechamel, then spaghetti sauce, or all spaghetti sauce. Cover with shredded vegan cheese (optional).

Bake at 350-375, 30 min. covered. Uncover and bake about 20 min more. Place on top shelf and broil under broiler if using cheese. Watch closely so nothing burns. Adjust time for colder/thawing manicotti. You want the sauce around the noodles to bubble, and the center of each noodle/filing to be hot.

Watch the Sopranos and say "Manni-got!" like they do on the show. Serve with some garlic bread and a nice salad.

For Freezing- Cover baking pan in plastic wrap for easy lifting out- Place a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on bottom, and place in noodles. Freeze and remove in one piece (noodles and sauce), wrapping tightly and placing in a ziploc bag. I use vacuum freezer bags. Day of service: place more spaghetti sauce on bottom of cooking pan, unwrap frozen noodles/sauce, and place in pan. Let defrost in refrigerator. Before cooking, pour on bechamel and more spaghetti sauce. Bake as directed.
I have also heard of people preparing the whole thing, sauce and all, in the pan then just covering with plastic or aluminum and freezing it. It's up to you. Freezing only the noodles with a little sauce saves space.


Sal said...

That looks reaaaally good!!

Vegan Knitting said...

Mmmmm... These look so good! I'm definitely going to check it out.

pixiepine said...

Whoa! This looks so yummy!

hotTamale said...

Professional photos yet, down-to-earth instructions-- thanks!

It looks seriously yummy!